Former Metropolitan Police Officer Chris Hobbs has said that “police are having to backfill for” cuts to other services and that because there are not enough officers “if you stab someone, the odds are in London you are probably going to get away with it”.
Mr Hobbs told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “This is the problem; because you have had cuts across the board in all sorts of other services police are having to backfill for those cuts.
“They are the agency for last resort if you will. Police officers are having to do tasks that years ago they wouldn’t have to do.
“You have got a situation now where you are talking about unsolved crimes. Yes, people can commit crimes now and they are not going to be caught, which is an appalling situation.
“Let’s look at murders: In London the Met has been solving 90% of murders.
“That figure is expected to drop to the 70s because of the sheer volume of work the Homicide Squads have to undertake.
“If you look at a non-fatal stabbing, and we have got lots and lots of those, just under 80% remain unsolved.
“If you were able to put a murder squad onto each unsolved non-fatal stabbing you would probably solve it.
“You can’t because you haven’t got the officers to do that so if you stab someone, the odds are in London you are probably going to get away with it.”
Rise in homicides and knife-related crimes
This comes as official figures show police forces in England and Wales registered a total of 5.6 million offences in the year to June.
It is the highest total for police-recorded crime since the year ending March 2005, and a 9% rise in comparison to the previous 12 months.
Data published by the Office of National Statistics showed a rise in homicides, knife-related crimes, robberies and theft.
It showed an increase of 14% in recorded homicide offences, and sexual offences up 18%.
Police officers ‘want to lock up criminals’
Mr Hobbs added that police officers “want to lock up criminals” but their time is taken up by other problems such as looking after mental health patients “because there is nowhere to put them”.
He said: “Police Officers when they join really want to lock up criminals and want to lock up people who are hurting other people.
“What you have got at the moment though and this figure is quite often overlooked, you have got a situation where England and Wales are towards the bottom of the European League for police per population.
“Now, how can that be right? The French have got something like 100,000 more police officers than we have for a very similar population although it is a larger geographical area.
“At the moment we are expecting our police not just to deal with crime but more than 50% of their work is nothing to do with crime.
“You have got exploding mental health issues so you have got police officers tied up perhaps for days looking after mental health patients because there is nowhere to put them.”